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Goalie nods: It’s Mason versus Greiss in key wild card clash

Steve Mason

In this Nov. 4, 2014 photo, Philadelphia Flyers’ Steve Mason puts on his helmet before an NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Philadelphia. Franny Drummond “zombified” several Flyers for Mason’s latest helmet. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


There’s plenty to play for tonight at Barclays, when the New York Islanders -- currently holding the first of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference -- take on Metropolitan Division rival Philly.

The Flyers are in the thick of that wild card chase, sitting three points back of Detroit for the final wild card spot, and five back of the Isles.

What’s more, both New York and Philly have similar circumstances in goal.

For Steve Mason and Thomas Greiss, tonight’s duties -- and duties for the foreseeable future -- are all on them. The Flyers are without Michal Neuvirth for the next three weeks with a lower-body ailment, while the Isles are going to be without Jaroslav Halak until playoff time, as he’s dealing with a groin issue.

Mason and the Flyers are looking to bounce back from a rough 4-1 loss to the streaking Penguins on Saturday. Mason wasn’t at fault for the defeat -- he made 31 saves on 34 shots, while his teammates only fired 17 pucks on Marc-Andre Fleury -- but he’ll certainly want to cut down his goals-against, as he’s allowed at least three in each of his last three starts.

Greiss and the Isles, meanwhile, just want a win.

They’ve lost five of their last six, a stretch that has seen them fall into wild card territory. Like Mason, Greiss can’t be faulted for the defeats -- he’s had a solid, if unspectacular, .918 save percentage over his last five outings -- but he has to be concerned about the lack of offensive support. The Isles have scored just seven times in their last five games, which included a 3-0 shutout loss in Dallas over the weekend.


-- Roberto Luongo gets the night off in New York, as Al Montoya will start for the Panthers. The Rangers will go with their No. 1, Henrik Lundqvist.

-- Jonas Hiller starts for the first time in eight games when Calgary takes on the Leafs in Toronto. He’ll be up against Jonathan Bernier.

-- No word yet on who starts for L.A. in Nashville tonight. Looks like the Preds are going with Pekka Rinne.